Very few people here have considered the fact that the drug testing industry is a
multibillion dollar industry
and a big
reason behind these laws is the lobbying by big Pharma (A: to keep natural drugs illegal & reduce their competition & B: so they can sell more drug
I'm not sure what is behind the idea that welfare recipients should be drug tested, but there seems to be a lot of assumptions that people who are for
this are working from, mainly:
1) people not distinguishing drug use from drug abuse (two very different things), and secondly assuming that all drug users are all "immoral"
non-entities that don't deserve the dignity of help including food & health care, which are the major components of "welfare", NOT cash benefits,
which generally is no more than $63 every 2 weeks, which, by the way, these people are required to WORK FOR. (also these people are choosing to treat
drug use as a moral & criminal issue which is costly, ineffective, and expensive rather than a public health issue, which has shown to be more cost
Again drug testing is big business. However I wonder if anyone ever stopped to consider if throwing people off welfare just because they test positive
is even legal, let alone ethical. Why does it matter what a person puts in his/her body. Does that person not deserve the same dignity as anyone else?
Does the fact that a person has a drug problem automatically mean that we should throw them on the street? In fact, those who are advocating kicking
drug users and abusers to the curb probably don't even realize that the cost of NOT helping these people is actually far more than the cost of helping
them (which has been shown in case studies
, since these people often show up in
shelters and emergency rooms where costs are far higher).
"Philosophically, I think we should be holding people accountable for what we want them to do, not for what we don't want them to do," said Preis.
"People want to take care of their families, to do the right thing. It just doesn't make sense to me. Taking away benefits from someone struggling
with substance abuse issues isn't going to help them; it will only make matters worse."
"These bills are a waste of money at a time when governments don't have money to waste," said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug
Policy Alliance. "And they're extremely discriminatory in that they focus on someone smoking marijuana, but don't address at all whether someone is
blowing his check on alcohol or gambling or vacations. The bottom line is that even if someone is using drugs, that doesn't mean they should be denied
public assistance, health care, or anything else to which citizens are entitled. These bills are unnecessarily cruel and they show that some
politicians still think it's in their best interest to pick on vulnerable people with substance abuse issues."
Second thing to consider is regarding all these false positives and resulting lawsuits. It's not just a myth that false positives are a problem:
"Drug testing pregnant women produces false positives (and kills babies)"
"Field tests for drugs are proven wildly inaccurate"
2) Secondly, is the myth that welfare recipients are "lazy" hence myths about "welfare queens" (a term that was later proved to be a myth, Reagan's
"welfare queen" was never an actual person) having gaggles of illegitimate children in order to collect checks.
The reality is that "welfare" does not really exist, at least in this country, anymore. It has been turned into a program called "workfare" in which
recipients are required to work a certain amount of hours per week (usually 20-30, plus 15 hours spent looking for a job). Generally these people are
given work that, if the math is done, works out to a pay that is far below minimum wage. ("workfare" checks are roughly $63 a week, at least where I
live, at a work week of 20 hours, that works out to $3.15/hour.) Many organizations have made a point of the "slave-like" conditions in which these
people work. Interestingly, many of the reasons for "welfare reform" (i.e. the new "workfare" program") has been rooted in A) myths about rampant
"welfare fraud" and B) myths about the "laziness" and moral aptitude of welfare recipients. Contrary to what many on the new right say, various
investigations by states and other "fraud" tracking initiatives have found welfare fraud to be very low, less than 2%, is what I have generally heard
being cited on average. Additionally, the fraud that was found in 95%+ of the cases, had been found to be perpetrated by the provider or administrator
of the welfare benefits, not the actual beneficiary. So claims of massive welfare fraud on the part of the beneficiary are simply unfounded. The
reason is actually easy to see if you are anyone who knows anything about the system: it is demoralizing and no one would willingly put themselves
through is unless they truly are destitute and desperate.
Read more about these issues here:
New York City / Giuliani record on "welfare reform" including claims of "welfare fraud" and effects of "workfare" and other reforms, often leading to
a denial in benefits, forcing people to loose their homes, health insurance, and forcing them to seek more costly emergency interventions like
hospital emergency rooms, and the city shelter system where housing a person costs $38,000+ a year.
Giuliani's welfare policies drastically cut the number of people on welfare, but not all of the people who left the rolls - or were forced from
them - found jobs. Many were wrongly denied benefits, including food stamps, which led more people to seek emergency shelter and food, city anti-
poverty advocates said.
An article discussing eight common myths about welfare, including many that I see people using here over and over again ("lazy", "no morals", "bunch
of drug addicts" etc.)
Discussion of welfare fraud:
I also wanted to point out this article on the criminalization of poverty...which seems to be where these attacks on poor people are going. I heard
the other night on the news, an analogy in reference to the recent demonization of the working poor. That the rich guy will take the entire box of
cookies, taking 99 cookies for himself, and then gives one of the 2 other poor guys sitting across from him a cookie. The 2 poor guys, rather than
taking on the rich guy for hoarding the whole box, fights with his neighbor over the crumbs, calling each other "lazy", "undeserving", even
"greedy"...it's not difficult to see the irony here. I want to reference a quote that I see has a lot of relevance to some of the arguments given by
conservatives and neo-conservative laissez-faire market thinkers (i.e. "the market will solve all problems" types), which is one of the reasons given
for why we should do away with things like "welfare", "social security", "food stamps", etc.
While the ideology of neoliberalism emphasizes small government and laissez-faire at the top, it "is anything but laissez-faire at the bottom.
Indeed, when it comes to handling the social turbulence generated by deregulation and to impressing the discipline of precarious labor, the new
Leviathan reveals itself to be fiercely interventionist, bossy, and pricey." (308)
This "post-Keynesian era of insecure employment" creates a "deficit of legitimacy" which the state handles by using the penal apparatus to hold
as a club over those members of the working class who resist the discipline of the new fragmented service wage-labor by increasing the cost of exit
strategies into the informal economy of the street. Those who are disruptive or who have been "rendered wholly superfluous" are neutralized or
warehoused. This state could be called "liberal-paternalist" — liberal and permissive at the top, with regard to corporations and the upper class,
and paternalist and authoritarian at the bottom," establishing a "new government of social insecurity." (8)
(read this, another highly recommended article with lots of source quotes and research)
Next, a very good article in which the writer demonstrates:
1) The "drug epidemic'' does not pose the huge threat to public
health and safety that some many claim.
2) Currently legal drugs cause more problems than illicit drugs.
3) Even if it were desirable to address casual drug use as a
problem, urinalysis is not the way to do it.
4) Urinalysis itself represents a counter-progressive social
strategy, a colossal waste of our industrial resources, and does
more harm to businesses than good.
A finally, I wanted to point out that this whole argument reminds me of what they mean when they talk about "Service to Self" vs. "Service to Others"
type aliens, 3D, 4D, and 5D type entities. For anyone who has not read about it, although I assume more ATS users are familiar, I will post sources.
But, the description of the "Service to Self" entities reminds me of those here who are attacking the poorest and most vulnerable citizens and arguing
for what amounts to a "kick them to the curb and they can pick themselves up by their own boot straps" Basically attacking our fellow man and treating
life as if it were nothing more than an economic opportunity, a monetary calculation:
They are locked into their own mode of existence, and above them in the hierarchy is only the logos or thought center, the black sun, the
spiritual black hole that inevitably sucks all self-centered consciousness into it. To stave off this spiritual death, they need increasing energy
from those below in the hierarchy. In fact, all dark practitioners seek to avoid the metaphysical consequences of what they do, which is why they are
into physicality and prolonging life while physical, they can do what they want and delay paying the debt...They are very practical, so they seek the
easiest route. This is because they must economize their energy and strategy. The nature of self-serving evolution involves conquest over finite
resources, so efficiency and calculation are necessary. This makes them blind to certain outcomes (probabilities) that are not within their
Every individual in an STS (service-to-self) hierarchy is both predator and prey. Predator to those below, prey to those above. Humans of strong STS
orientation incarnate to heighten their negative polarity and carry out missions and agenda. They are of low spiritual frequency and tend to be born
into positions of power. These form the elite of the world, who are ultimately directed by the alien powers heading the STS hierarchy.
I'm wary of the people on here who advocate such selfish policy or abandoning their fellow man and assuming that this is "just the way life is". There
is more to life than "the invisible hand of Adam Smith and market economies" (which, given more and more evidence, and in my opinion, are destroying
the planet and the soul of mankind). More on STO vs. STS here
Either way, I take a lot of the attitude of fellow ATSers towards the poor, sick and most vulnerable among us as a really sad sign of the sickness of
moral selfishness and greed that is present in our society.
edit on 22-3-2011 by meeneecat because: added link